The Crowninshield-Bentley House (1727)

The Crowninshield-Bentley House was built in 1727 to 1730 on Essex Street in Salem. Four generations of Crowninshields lived in the house, until 1832, beginning with merchant and sea captain John Crowninshield. The building may have begun as a half-house (the east half of the house) and was enlarged by 1761, when John Crowninshield died and his widow Hannah and son Benjamin divided the property. Benjamin added a new addition in 1794, while his mother rented her half of the house out to boarders. The house is also named for Reverend William Bentley, who boarded here from 1791 to 1819, while he was pastor of East Church. Bentley was a Unitarian minister and scholar, famous for his diary. The house was sold to the Hawthorne Hotel in the 1940s and in 1959 the Hotel donated it to the Essex institute. The house‘s modern additions were then removed and it was moved to the grounds of the Essex Institute, where it was restored as a memorial to the wealthy preservationist Louise DuPont Crowninshield. The house, which is a house museum owned by the Peabody Essex Museum, has recently had an extensive restoration.

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